I was 20 years old when I made the decision to become a lawyer. Up to that point, I thought very seriously about going into the ministry, medicine, and music. I was also interested in lawyer shows on television, and enjoyed writing and public speaking.
I majored in religion in undergraduate school at Ohio Wesleyan University. I enjoyed theology, biblical study, learning about the various religions around the world, and reading the great philosophers and theologians. But I didn’t have that “calling” or spark that prompted my father and my grandfather to become members of the clergy. I have great respect for people of the cloth, but I knew it just was not my thing.
I have lots of doctors in my family and among my friends. But I also know that I can’t stand the sight of blood and would have an incredibly difficult time working with it! I played contact sports, got bangs and bruises like the other players, had broken bones, etc., and had very little fear of going up against other players. But any time I got even the smallest cut, it really bugged me! I had to admit that medicine was not my thing.
I love music. It is a very good stress reducer. After a tough day in Court, I often sit in my easy chair and play my guitar for a couple of hours. I also have had the privilege of performing in public a lot with my son and friends, for a lot of civic and other events. One thing I know about professional guitarists is that it is very tough to make a living doing that unless one is willing and able to go “on the road,” or to locate in a very large metropolitan area or recording studio destination. Frankly, as much as I love playing music, I did not want to do any of those things.
So, I became a lawyer pretty much by the process of elimination. It is true that my parents encouraged me to do it, and it is true that I felt the draw of the legal profession, but it’s also true that the reason I chose it is because I saw in it none of the negatives for me that I felt about the other possible career paths I considered.
All in all, I’m glad I made the choice I did. Law school was not fun, but it was challenging and very helpful. Parts of the practice of law are not fun. But, there is no job in the world that is all about fun. I think lawyers have the ability over a long period of time to help a lot of people and to do a lot of good. I’m glad I made the choice I made, and if I had to do it all over again, I would probably make the same choice!